Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Half of Tasmania’s Anglican churches are slated for sale, leaving communities reeling. Is this Tassie Christendom’s death knell?

C'mon!  Anglicanism tells us nothing about Christendom.  Homosexuality is all they seem to believe in these days.  They have left both the Bible and their own "39 articles" behind years ago.  They still sometimes talk the old talk but their churches are now little more than social clubs

Ron Sonners strides through the tombstones and crosses that creep up a gentle grassy slope, stopping just shy of the portal into St Peter’s, an elegant Georgian church perched on a hill overlooking the Tasmanian farming village of Hamilton. He wants to show me the war graves but the most frequented plot in the grounds of this heritage-listed Anglican church is the fresher mound where his niece’s son lies ­buried. She brings flowers and her unfathomable grief twice a week, seeking solace. He knows who is here in the cold, packed earth because he ­gardens and cares for this place, proud of the new cemetery gates, the old wooden door rehung, floorboards replaced and recarpeted, improved wiring, the levelling of the flagstone entrance, all done with volunteer money and labour.

The passage of convicts, free settlers and their kin has worn a shallow dip across the threshold slab of pale stone through almost two centuries of service since the church opened in 1838. Tested by the vicissitudes of fortune and faith, the dwindling congregation scraped by cheerfully enough until last month, when parishioners learnt St Peters was on a hit list of 76 churches in Tasmania — more than half the total 133 — slated for auction to fund compensation for victims of child sex abuse by the Anglican clergy. Forget “temporal things” such as bricks and mortar, Tasmania’s Anglican Bishop, the Right Reverend Richard Condie, urged clergy and lay members of the governing synod that endorsed the scheme last month. “What a miserable and pathetic gospel we would have if it could be destroyed by the loss of a building. Our ­discipleship, our following of Jesus, our trust and hope and life is so much more than real estate.”

Sixty-one of the churches under threat are in pinched rural hamlets. Five of the six Anglican churches in the vast central midlands parish of Hamilton have a “for sale” sticker. These towns have lost services, post offices, banks and now churches that in many cases dominate the skyline, the main street, occupying parcels of land donated in perpetuity by private citizens, built through subscriptions, maintained for 100 years or more by the collection plate and the sweat of parishioners.

At Windermere, on the Tamar River north of Launceston, a psychologist and stalwart of ­St Matthias says: “I’ve cried and prayed every night over this decision.” In the West Coast town of Queenstown, where the local mine has closed, volunteer preacher and businessman Kevin ­Bailey admits to being “very stressed” about the ­potential loss of St Martin’s, which would force folk to drive 50km on winding roads to the nearest alternative. The church warden of St Marks at Cressy, south of Launceston, hasn’t slept for three weeks: “It tears the heart out of you.” In Pyengana, a speck in the state’s far north-east, the tiny white clapboard church, recently painted and reclad by locals, offers sanctuary to a dairy farmer who goes there anytime he feels the need to be close to the graves of his two teenage children.

“Country people vote with their feet. They just leave and they don’t come back,” says Nichola Ball, whose family have been baptised, wed and buried at St John the Baptist in Ouse, 15km north-west of Hamilton, for four generations. With its pressed tin spire, wooden fretwork and chunky blue stone, the tiny church was built by her great-great-grandfather in 1843. “Whoever buys this is going to have to buy Walter Ross Bethune,” she hoots of her great-uncle’s resting place under the altar. The blackwood lid of the stone baptismal font was carved by revered ­Tasmanian arts and crafts artist Ellen Payne. “We love this church,” Ball sighs, pausing to read the rapturous comments from tourists and others tracing their ancestral footprints who have signed a leatherbound book in the porch. “Door is not locked. Visitors welcome,” says the sign.

Ball has joined Sonners on the frontline. Her cultivated manner camouflages a soldiering bloodline. “Unconscionable … disingenuous,” she says of the bishop’s plan to sell “our light on the hill”.

Parishes have until December to secure an exemption. Once churches are sold there’ll be the sweetener of diocese funds available to bankroll new ministry in school halls, living rooms, coffee shops, wherever. The fate of the graveyards is ­anyone’s guess; the state government is urgently reviewing its Burial and Cremation Act. Plots have been paid for everywhere I visit. Trust deeds are being pored over. Meetings are underway. This could be the saving grace of Tasmania’s Christendom or its death knell. Heritage, history, culture, religion: the social fabric of an island state is up for grabs.

Huge inverted red neon crucifixes menace the night sky on Hobart’s waterfront for Dark Mofo, the annual winter festival of the Museum of Old and New Art, a cultural phenomenon that has ­turbocharged Tasmania’s tourism-led economic recovery. The upside-down motif decried as blasphemous by Christian leaders is a neat metaphor for the turmoil triggered by the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

At Anglican church headquarters in nearby Macquarie Street, next to St David’s Cathedral, the fallout is written in Bishop Condie’s taut ­composure. “I’ve worked pretty much seven days a week for the last couple of months on this, as much as is possible humanly to do,” he tells me. “I’ve been trying to lead calmly but sometimes I think people have understood that to mean that I don’t care about this. I’ve wept over this. This is the hardest thing I could do and I’m incredibly sad that the Anglican Church in Tasmania is in this position. Evil people in our history did these terrible crimes and now our generation is paying for it, but I’m also filled with compassion for survivors of child abuse who have sat in this room and told me their stories. I can’t ignore that.”

His office in a city precinct of blue-chip real estate bears none of the lustre of corporate foyers. Worn carpet, cheap framed prints and mismatched furnishings are testament to a cash-strapped purse as well as a nobler disregard for secular trappings. Burdened by an annual deficit of $95,000, Condie insists he could neither ­borrow the $8 million for redress nor raise money through the sale of commercial assets, since these provide essential ongoing revenue for an institution in decline. “It would cripple us and we’d go out of business pretty quickly,” he says.

Tasmania has the lowest religious affiliation of any state and falling, according to the latest census, although the proportion of Anglicans compared with other religions, while also shrinking, is higher than the national average. To prepare for a looming compensation bill, the state synod last year introduced a sustainability test to determine parish viability. Churches had to demonstrate attendance by 30 households; sufficient funds to pay a full-time minister; ­pathways to encourage families and children; and ­evangelical and outreach activities. Survival of the fittest doomed the frailest rural congregations for auction despite the best efforts of parishioners to make ends meet. In Hamilton, for example, the elderly priest is part-time and unpaid. She earns a small salary from school chaplaincy work and the parish bought her a car and covers petrol expenses as she rotates Sunday services between churches.

Ministry matters more than church buildings in the figuring of Bishop Condie, an evangelical Christian aligned with the GAFCON (Global Anglican Future Conference) strand of conser­vative Anglicanism. Melbourne born and bred, his only exposure to a rural ­community occurred during an early two-year posting in a parish in northern NSW. Anglican officials around the country are ­monitoring his ambitious reversal of authority. Traditionally, veto over the sale of church property is vested with the parish councils but the Tasmanian synod handed the bishop power over the fate of 108 properties.


Unpopular truth about Africans in Melbourbe

The video editor goofed but it doesn't mean the story is wrong

CHANNEL 7 current affairs show Sunday Night is under fire over claims that its report on Melbourne’s African gangs was race baiting.

Comedian Meshel Laurie is among the Melburnians to slam the story, saying the report — which alleged the city had been overrun with African gangs — was “racist bulls**t”.

Reporter Alex Cullen introduced the story: “Barely a week goes by that they’re not in the news. “African gangs running riot, terrorising, robbing, wreaking havoc.

“Yet we live in such politically correct times, the police have been loath to admit there’s even a problem — but there is.”

Even before the segment went to air, Sunday Night was copping criticism across social media.

Eagle-eyed viewers pointed out the footage used in the program was more than three years old.

“See the first scene? Flinders Street has been painted since then, and was covered in scaffolding for the two years before that. See the second scene? I don’t know if you’ve ever been to Melbourne, but there is a HUGE bloody hole there that has been there for 2 years,” Twitter user Alan Baxter wrote.

The segment was also panned by community leaders from South Sudan, the country Channel 7 claimed most of Australia’s “African criminals” came from.

Melbourne-based litigation lawyer Maker Mayek, who is originally from South Sudan, tweeted up a storm before and after the program aired, urging viewers to change the channel.

The Twitter hashtag #NotMyAustralia also became one of the top trending hashtags in the country as the program went to air.

Hundreds of people also called for Channel 7 to instead focus on Australia’s rising domestic violence rates after the deaths of women including Eurydice Dixon and Xi Yu.

The Sunday Night program also aired an interview with Melbourne woman Elaine French, who was working at a high-end jewellery store in Toorak when it was robbed by a group of men.

Described as a “broken woman”, Ms French said the robbery had ruined her life. “I don’t have a life anymore. These four walls is where I live. I’m too nervy. I can’t go to a shopping centre because if I ran into a coloured person I’d be having a panic attack again,” she said.

The robbery took place a year ago and Ms French was interviewed for the Channel 7 program last night.

When Ms French is asked by Cullen what she thought a “just punishment would be” she said she wanted the robbers “deported back to where they came from”.

The African gangs stereotype hit the media in January after a number of Sudanese people living in Melbourne were accused of crimes.

The hysteria peaked when Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton said people in Melbourne were “too scared to go to restaurants because of African gang violence”.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull also weighed in on the hysteria in January, accusing Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews of failing to deal with gang violence in Melbourne.

But the Prime Minister’s comments were called out by an African community leader who accused him of using Sudanese “street gang” problems in Victoria to score political points.

Richard Deng, of the South Sudanese Community Association of Victoria, said the Prime Minister was jumping on the issue as a “tool to win elections”.

“The Prime Minister needs to man up, support the State Government, support the African community, don’t target them just because of the political agenda you want to drive,” he said at a press conference in January.



Australian government declines visa for right-wing activist Lauren Southern ahead of speaking tour

An attractive conservative gives Leftists everywhere the complete horrors

CONTROVERSIAL conservative activist Lauren Southern has had her visa declined by the Australian government ahead of a speaking tour later this month.

The 23-year-old Canadian is scheduled to appear in Melbourne, Perth, Adelaide, Sydney, Brisbane and Auckland alongside commentator Stefan Molyneux in a series of events hosted by Axiomatic Media.

The far-right internet personalities are well known for their outspoken views on issues such as immigration, Islam and political correctness. Ms Southern is a supporter of the anti-immigrant group Defend Europe, which attempts to block migrant ships coming from North Africa.

“Australia declines visa for Canadian @Lauren_Southern,” Sky News host Ross Cameron wrote on Twitter, posting a photo of an email to Southern from visa website VisaBureau.com.

The email said Ms Southern had applied for an Australian ETA, or electronic travel authority. “The Australian High Commission have advised that you are not eligible for this service,” the website said. “You may wish to consider applying for a Visitor Visa (Subclass 600) with the Australian government.”

Axiomatic Media founder Luke Izaak tweeted: “Here you go Australia. Zero criminal record, zero history of incitement to violence, more defamation of her character by the hard left than I have seen on any Conservative speaker all year and still @Lauren_Southern is fighting to come visit #wakeupaustralia.”

According to the Home Affairs website, an Australian ETA is for “short-term stays for tourism or business visitor activities such as attending a conference, making business inquiries, or for contractual negotiations” and is “not a work visa”.

A Visitor Visa (Subclass 600), which costs between $140 and $1045, entitles the recipient to visit Australia “for business purposes” for up to 12 months. Axiomatic Media is charging $79 for a basic ticket and up to $749 for an “intimate dinner” with the pair.

Mr Izaak told news.com.au the pair had applied for Temporary Activity Visas (Subclass 408) — which would permit them to work and normally take 10 days to process — “months ago” but had been “stonewalled and stonewalled with no response”.

“One-and-a-half weeks ago they asked for a criminal record check. Neither of them have criminal records, they got those clean, and still no response,” he said.

“Her immigration lawyer advised them to get a temporary ETA so she and Stefan can at least be getting the lay of the land, having a look at Sydney Harbour Bridge, [go to] Cairns for a crocodile safari, to immerse themselves in the country before they speak about it, and hope the government comes through with the [408 visa].”

But Mr Izaak said even the ETA was denied.


Stupid recycling scheme

Costly -- like all Greenie schemes

Woolworths warns of 60 per cent price increases if Western Australia cash-for-cans scheme goes ahead

WOOLWORTHS has warned it could be forced to increase some drink prices by 60 per cent in Western Australia if the State Government pushes ahead with a container deposit scheme similar to the NSW government’s disastrous “Return and Earn” program.

In a written submission outlining its concerns about WA’s “cash for cans” plan slated to roll out in 2020, Woolworths said the estimated total cost to NSW households from Return and Earn would be $420 million, based on a “conservative” average levy of 12 cents per container.

Due to WA’s much larger size and smaller population, the supermarket predicted handling and administration fees would be “significantly more” at around 15 cents per container.

“The CDS will have a significant cost-of-living impact on our customers,” Woolworths government relations manager Richard Fifer wrote. “Based on an increase of 15 cents per item, a 24x600ml pack of Woolworths still water will rise from $6 to $9.60, which is an increase of 60 per cent.”

Woolworths said its experience with similar schemes in South Australia and the Northern Territory showed the “vast majority” of beverage containers were still returned through kerbside recycling, “reflecting the low engagement consumers have in seeking a refund”.

The NSW government’s scheme, launched on December 1, 2017, has been heavily criticised for pushing up the price of drinks without any environmental benefit, given 80 per cent of bottles and cans were already being recycled via yellow bins.

In April, The Australian reported the five biggest drinks manufacturers — Coca-Cola Amatil, Carlton United Brewers, Lion, Coopers and Asahi — were pocketing $34 million a month in unclaimed “deposits”.

Drinks manufacturers raised their prices to pay for the 10-cent “deposit” to be paid back to consumers if they return near pristine-condition bottles and cans “uncrushed, unbroken” and with “the original labels attached”.

The paper reported that just 13 per cent of eligible bottles and cans were being returned and Exchange for Change, the company formed by the five drinks makers to manage the scheme, simply hands the unclaimed money back to them.

As of May, more than 350 million drink containers had been returned to around 600 Return and Earn machines. In April, an interim report by the NSW Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal found prices had increased by 10-14 cents for soft drinks and water, 6 cents for beers and fruit juices, and 7 cents for ciders.

Queensland will introduce its own container deposit scheme in November. “We stand by the evidence provided in our submission to the WA government on the container deposit scheme last year,” a Woolworths spokesman said.

“Since our submission there has been constructive engagement between industry and government on the proposed design and implementation of the scheme. If this approach continues, we trust the consumer costs associated with the scheme can be minimised.”


Men must not be photographed with Bikini-clad women (??)

THE LNP Member for Whitsunday has found himself at the centre of a national and international media storm after posting a video to social media last week of himself bookended by two young bikini-clad tourists at the Airlie Beach foreshore.

The Queensland Deputy Premier, Jackie Trad condemned the "celebrating" of World Bikini Day on Twitter and Facebook and called Jason Costigan a "sleazebag".

Buoyed by online support and a general perception the post was innocuous, Mr Costigan responded in an interview with the Whitsunday Times. "This whole concept of political correctness has to stop," he said. "It's on steroids and it needs to be called out, it's beyond a joke."

In the wake of widespread media attention and online criticism, Ms Trad posted on social media again on Sunday night stating: "I've copped it, but I stand by what I said, because if nothing changes, nothing changes".

"Unfortunately, too many of us know sleazebags who use their official titles and positions to objectify and prey on women. It needs to stop," Ms Trad wrote on Twitter.

The Member for Whitsunday appeared on Channel 10 show The Project on Sunday and was asked by host Hamish McDonald if he was a "sleazebag".

"We have a lot of creepy things in North Queensland, snakes and spiders...but I am not one of them," he said.

Mr Costigan then politicised the reaction to the Bikini Day stunt by saying he was not a "part of the loony left."

"Political correctness has one place for me and that is down the toilet," he said.


Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).    For a daily critique of Leftist activities,  see DISSECTING LEFTISM.  To keep up with attacks on free speech see Tongue Tied. Also, don't forget your daily roundup  of pro-environment but anti-Greenie  news and commentary at GREENIE WATCH .  Email me  here

1 comment:

Paul said...

The second best solution to the African problem is full-scale hunt and deport. No exceptions. The first best solution doen't need to be spelled out.